Kevin Kevin, Marijuana, Brooklyn discussed on Fresh Air

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

It can be very difficult to return to your old environment and become a changed person and not and make curfew, and and not get into trouble the person who you write about who was caught with a gun that he said wasn't his. I mean the gun was in the apartment that he was in. But he said the gun wasn't his. So he he had to like meet the curfew. Stay out of trouble spend time with the social worker at cetera. What were some of the problems he run into staying out of trouble for the mandated period of time? Yeah. So you're talking about the character in my book, I called Kevin that's a pseudonym. I wanted to make sure to protect his privacy. So one of the problems he had one night. He was out in the neighborhood. And there was a dice game going on. He knew he wasn't supposed to play dice because one of the rules of the diversion program is no police contact. So he was standing there smoking a cigarette. Some other people were smoking marijuana playing dice the cops came over everybody scattered because they're not supposed to be doing that the park at night marijuana, by the way is basically decriminalized in Brooklyn, but not entirely they're still arresting some people for it. So everybody ran but Kevin was standing there smelling cigarettes. So he didn't run and the cops picked him up anyway and brought him down to the station and arrested him and he thought oh my God. Like, I am going to end up in prison because I've violated the terms of this diversion program. But all I was doing was like standing around at night smoke. Taking a cigarette. So he did a smart thing he called his social worker from the diversion program. And let him know what had happened as a way of explaining and because of that that really built trust with the social worker, and then the social worker went to bat for him when this came up in court, and he did not end up in prison. And was this time he had to take a urine drug test came back positive, and he said that's impossible because I haven't smoked anything and they did a second test and it came up negative. Yes. That also happened in that had such a random quality to it. At least for me exactly as you said Kevin took the Strug test came back positive for marijuana again, violating the rules of the program never mind that marijuana's mostly decriminalized in Brooklyn. And he said his social worker like, I know I haven't been smoking. This has got to be wrong and the social worker because he trusted Kevin Kevin into the bath. Room and gave them another drug test, and it was negative. So I really confronted over and over again this sense that there was this these arbitrary moments in people's lives where they could go one way or the other. Let's talk about bail new points out that the US and the Philippines are the only court systems that allow four profit bail companies to operate so. I think a lot of us don't really understand how Bill works and where the profit comes in for the bail bondsman. So can you explain that a little bit? I will try I will say that all of my assumptions about bail turned out to be wrong as I did my reporting. I realized that I didn't know how this worked at all. So here's how for profit cash bail works in New York, you go in front of a judge say he sets bail at fifteen thousand dollars, that's like standard for a gun offense. You then can pay it at that moment. If you have the cash, but of course, most people don't have that amount of cash sitting around. And so then they have to go to a bail bondsman, usually you work out a deal where you pay the bondsman ten percent. And then the bondsman doesn't actually pay the court anything they just go to to the court and say we'll guarantee that if this person flees, we will pay that amount at the end of the case, if you have come to you all your court appearances is almost everyone does you're supposed to get your money back at the end. But I did not see people getting any more than sixty. Fifty bucks back when they completed this process and all of this Liles tremendous profits for the bail industry, which is the bonds are underwritten by giant multinational corporations, we're not talking about mom and pop shops. They are making about two billion dollars a year. That's the estimate and all this is supposed to be necessary. It's supposed to be the only way that we can ensure that people come back to court you put money down that means that you won't flee. But in fact, we know from Washington C, which has been doing it differently for years from the state of Kentucky, which has a different system. The cash Bill is not necessary to bring most people back to court. Most people you just ask them politely to come back to court. You send them reminders you connect them with support services if necessary and they'll come back because they know it's going to be bad for them to have a warrant out there for their arrest. So this cash bell system really just was completely different than than I thought. When I started my work for this book. My guest is Emily Basilan author of the new book, charged the new movement to transform American prosecution and end mass incarceration. We'll talk more after a break and just in Changle review, the new movie her smell starring Elizabeth moss as an out of control punk rocker. I'm Terry gross. And.

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